Say It's Your Birthday: Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen

The trick that Rick Nielsen pulled off wasn't cheap in the

least. The guitar slinging pride of Rockford, Illinois, born there in this day

in 1946, has had his cake, eaten it too, and sometimes even had enough left

over to start a food fight. His brain child Cheap Trick seemed at first to be a

rock critic's wet dream--power pop of the old Who school, energetically

presented with lots of attention to image--and figured to rack up sales figures

that might even match the Raspberries. Rick, however, had other plans. While

the other effete power pop boys were waiting for the record company limos to

show up, Nielsen toured Cheap Trick like it was a heavy metal band, winning a

grass roots following and hard rock credibility that must have driven Eric

Carmen nuts. He wound up with the proverbially best of both worlds, and several

multi-platinum albums to prove it, and fans among the indie set like Smashing

Pumpkin's Billy Corgan. He has also acquired several hundred guitars along the

way, and he knows how to play every one of them. It's also the birthday of

Robin and Maurice Gibb, (that famous Bee Gee sandwich you've heard so much

about) and Barry Jenkins (Nashville Teens and Animals).